Tips to choose the right auto repair shop

Whether from an accident or normal wear and tear, your vehicle will eventually need repairs. When it happens, having a mechanic you can rely on can help take the stress out of car trouble. Here are some tips on what you should look for when it comes to finding a good repair shop.

Suggested questions to ask a repair shop

  • Does the shop charge a flat fee or hourly rates? Ask about prices if they’re not displayed.
  • Does the shop provide a warranty? How long is the warranty and what does it cover?
  • Does the shop offer a shuttle to and from work?
  • Does the shop have insurance in the event your car is destroyed, stolen or burglarized?
  • Does the shop have experience working on your make and model of car?
  • How long has the shop been in business?

Don’t wait

You’ll be relieved you have a trustworthy mechanic when your car won’t start or if you get into an accident. Take the time to look for an auto repair shop before you have the need for one.

Ask for recommendations

Co-workers, neighbors and relatives with firsthand experience are a great way to learn about a local repair shop. Ask if anyone has any recommendations of auto repair shops with which they’ve had a positive experience.

Look online

The easiest way to find the closest auto repair shops near you is by a quick online search for auto repair shops in your zip code. Your insurance company’s website is a good place to start the search for a reputable auto repair shop. Visit an online review website to see what others in the area are saying about local repair shops. Check the Better Business Bureau to view the company’s BBB rating, customer reviews and customer complaints.

Make sure the shop works on your make and model of vehicle

You may have a unique older car, or a car model that’s no longer made. It’s important to make sure that the shop you consider has experience working with the specific make and model of your vehicle.

Compare estimates

Once you’ve narrowed down the list, get written estimates from the shops you’re considering. While affordability is important, keep in mind that the cheapest estimate may not be the best estimate. A very low price may mean the mechanic could skip important items. Note that a written estimate should include the condition to be repaired, the parts needed and the anticipated labor charge. Make sure you get a signed copy.

Check your warranty

When it comes time for a repair, be sure to check the warranty on your vehicle. Make sure the shop will honor your vehicle’s warranty, if you’re still within the year or mileage range. Don’t forget to check your insurance policy to see if you have original equipment manufacturer parts coverage or other additional coverage.

Test the shop with a small repair

Before you entrust a mechanic with a major vehicle repair, it’s a good idea to test the shop’s services with regular maintenance such as an oil change or brake pad replacement. This allows you to get a good idea of their customer service, timeliness, affordability and more, before you need to bring your car in for a bigger repair.

Make sure you’re protected in the event of an accident. Talk to your independent insurance agent about coverage that is right for you.

Tip: Need to rent a car while yours is in the shop? The Hanover’s Partners in Protection provides special pricing and benefits for having a Hanover policy, including an upgraded membership with National Car Rental.